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The Ironman 70.3, Chattanooga, 2017
The first weekend you are here we are going to Chattanooga said Andrew. I am doing the swim leg of the Ironman Triathlon. Wow! That was so exciting cause the last triathlon I had gone for was when Andrew was a teenager in Chennai and had won the Asian Triathlon, collecting the prize money of 25 thousand and putting the down payment for his first motor bike.
Now Andrew was an adult and a cardiologist, but the drive to be an athlete never goes away obviously, because here I was about to witness him doing the swim leg of the Ironman, no less with his team. I packed very light as we were going for one night and 2 days and the team had hired a period home in the older part of Chattanooga and each of us were going to get a bedroom to use. Things in the US are pretty reasonably priced and so off we went to Walmart to buy an air mattress. For 60 bucks they bought a beautiful, huge air mattress on which I slept.
The next morning, Andrew was out of the room by 4:30 am even though the race began only at 6am for all the registration formalities. There were thousands of participants from all over the world and it was amazing to dirve down and hope to get a free parking at 6am. There was none. So we drove into paid parking and there too only one of the higher floors we got some space.
We walked down to the river with all our ‘potlies’ which included two foldable chairs which cost just 10 bucks each from Walmart a picnic basket of fruit and nuts, and ofcourse drinking water as it was pretty hot. We got a birds eye view of the point of the river that the swimmers came out of the water and we put out our chairs and sat waiting to see if Andrew came out.
Chattanooga, Tennessee lures athletes with its dramatic scenery, idyllic weather and low-key southern charm. The IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga offers the perfect training opportunity for those getting ready for the September race, or a chance to race in one of the sport's most welcoming race sites for those seeking a half-distance race opportunity.
Andrew began the team effort with a point-to-point swim that is mostly downstream in the Tennessee River. According to the route put up, the athletes began with a short up-river section before making the turn and heading downriver to the transition area where they met up with their team mate who would take on the cycling section. We stood in the transition area screaming and shouting when Andrew made an appearance.
The bike course offered spectacular views of Lookout Mountain as the riders headed out 11 miles south of the town for a rolling 34-mile loop in Georgia. Michelle who is Andrew’s nurse practitioner handled the cycling section too far away for us to watch. The bikes being used were spectacular and so Andrew, if he is continuing to participate will have to invest in one of those expensive sleek beauties. Even the helmets were amazing and so slim, coming to a point at the back of the head.
The final run leg had athletes take in the Tennessee Riverwalk and the beautiful Riverfront Parkway during the two-loop run. That was a gruelling run and I was amazed sitting there watching competitiors who were 50, 60, 70 and even 80 plus participate and come out top in their age group.
Am so glad Andrew has not stopped competing and watching him run, charged me up to run my 2 k every morning now without a break.
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